Interview by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer.
If you haven’t heard of DREGG, stop reading this immediately and go look them up and have a listen. Seriously. Do it. Preferably watch one of their videos so you can both see AND hear them. DREGG are one of Melbourne’s most self-expressive, creative and talented hardcore bands around right now and they are getting bigger by the day. Their creative talent is expressed both musically and visually and I can promise you, if you like self-expression and hardcore music, then I have just helped you find your new favourite band. You’re welcome. … Now that is sorted, keep reading this! I had the pleasure of chatting to guitarist, Jordan McQuitty (along with some of the other guys as they were all at band practise) last night. We talked about their upcoming performance at Brisbane’s BIGSOUND + Halloween Hysteria and so much more.
Last time I spoke to DREGG was with frontman, Christopher Mackertich around the time they released their latest single Hyperbole. This time our main focus was the upcoming BIGSOUND Festival!
Absolutely stoked to see DREGG on the BIGSOUND Festival line up for 2019! You guys must be excited and happy to be part of such a big event?
“Yeah it’s awesome. It is something, I guess, different for us as we haven’t really had the opportunity to play yet to a lot of industry people. So, it’s going to be a little bit different for us as in like the crowd’s interaction and what not, but it should be good!”
BIGSOUND is definitely a big deal in Brisbane. I recall when I was talking to Chris last time, we touched on the fact that although you guys are based in Melbourne now, some of you are originally from the Gold Coast?
“Yep. So myself, Chris and Sam, our other guitarist, we are all from the Gold Coast. Chris and Sam were in another band prior to DREGG. I moved down to Melbourne a year before Macca did, then Macca moved down with one of our old bass players and we started DREGG in 2015 or 16, can’t remember. Then eventually we decided we needed a second guitarist and we wanted Sam. So then Sam moved down and now it’s three fifths of DREGG are from the Gold Coast technically.”
Yeah, that’s cool! I feel like we can claim you as our own or something! Half Melbourne half Gold Coast (Good Call Live are based in Brisbane and on the Goldy) And Brisbane fans of DREGG are in for a treat with you guys playing not only BIGSOUND but also Halloween Hysteria!
“Yeah we get to come back and see everyone dressed up for Halloween Hysteria. We are still planning what we are going to do, but it should be very, very fun! We’ve been throwing around a few ideas, whatever we do it will be controversial, or we just might not dress up at all!”
It’s going to be a big party! So, you guys have got BIGSOUND which is a big 3 day event then Halloween Hysteria which this year goes over two nights. I think you are playing the first night for Halloween Hysteria right? Does that mean you get to come and party on the second night?
“Yeah we are playing the first night…”
So do you get chill out a bit and party on the second night or does that clash with your tour with Justice For The Damned?
“Yep, so we are on tour with Justice, Honest Crooks and Caged Existence. We don’t have any shows the next day, those shows are spread over a few weekends. So, I am pretty sure we will still be in the old Brisvegas. There are a few bands playing on the second night we are keen to see.”
DREGG are known for your in-your-face kind of music videos. They are fun, full on and hold nothing back. Is that something you always aim for with your film clips and with your music?
“Well the music videos are probably more of a Chris question, he usually has the main ideas and then we all kind of bounce off that. He is the visionary of DREGG. It’s definitely not Horhay *laughs* nah, just joking. So yeah, he often has the original idea and then we bounce ideas off each other and then kind of make something what it is. We don’t really want to do a stock standard video clip, generally, like we want to have a bit of fun with it and make people laugh and not be so serious.”
It was definitely one of the first things that attracted me to you as a band, I mean obviously your music did, but also your videos are really enjoyable to watch and I can watch them over and over and not get bored. It’s like watching your favourite movie, you notice things you didn’t notice the first time because there is so much going on in each video…
“That is pretty much what we go for, we want to put subtle things in there you may not notice the first time. Then when you go back and watch it again you might be like ‘Oh I didn’t see that! That’s cool! Or That’s stupid! *laughs* We try and add as much as we possibly can to keep people intrigued and interested in what’s going on.”
Well it’s a winning concept I think! So each band member has their own personalities and look, with masks, face paint, etc. Do your on-stage personalities match who you are in real life?
“I think to an extent yes. Like Horhay is a bit of a gangsta in real life, well he thinks he’s a gangsta *laughs* So he dresses like a gangsta on stage and Macca, well he dresses like Macca. Pretty much all of our characters or all of our outfit ideas, we all basically come up with them..”
Chris adds “They are an exaggerated version of the self!”
“Yeah. We kind of come up with our own ideas ourselves then we kind of have a competition with each other like ‘oh my outfit is better than yours’ *laughs* But we just want to keep people entertained and enjoy the visual part of our shows and not just get up in all black and headbang.”
There are so many amazing up and coming bands and musicians around right now which is something that BIGSOUND aims to showcase. Who are some newer bands you love and support that you’d like to give a plug too?
“R A G E – a band called R A G E, I think they are from Newcastle, they are a hardcore band. I think they are on Resist (Records). They’re probably like all of our favourite hardcore bands at the moment. They are super nice guys; they are awesome, and they put on such a good show. The Gloom In The Corner as well, they have put out some really cool stuff. They are a cool unsigned band.
Chris adds“Teether! A rapper Teether, he just put an album, go listen to it, he’s fucking one of the sickest rappers. Listen to Teether, T – E – E – T – H- E -R , he’s like the sickest rapper in Melbourne, could not plug him more. …Where is Leroy – we just added him to our collective, he’s a rapper.”
Who are some of your biggest influences and inspirations that you would credit your love and passion of music for?
“Probably the first heavy band I ever listened to was Killswitch Engage, they probably got me into liking heavy music and Terror, they are a hardcore band, Eminem. Third Strike, they are a local Gold Coast/Brisbane band, they are not around anymore, they were around about 10 years ago, they were a big influence. And a band called Foreigner, if you are familiar with them, as in the 80’s band, I am a big fan of them.”
DREGG are something really special. I wonder if bands hate being refereed to as ‘the next big thing’ – maybe they do? But I am going to go with that anyway (sorry guys if that’s not cool) But honestly. I can’t say enough good things about these guys. They stand out from the crowd and their spot on this years BIGSOUND and Halloween Hysteria are both well deserved. I encourage you to check them out at both events and on tour with Justice For The Damned.
You can catch DREGG on the following dates at the following venues:
September 3 – 6 BIGSOUND Festival – Fortitude Valley – Brisbane (DREGG play Crowbar on Wednesday 4th at 9pm + Crowbar Black on Thursday 5th at 9:40pm)
October 18 with Justice For The Damned – The Hamilton Station Hotel – Newcastle
October 19 with Justice For The Damned – Transit Bar – Canberra
October 25 – Halloween Hysteria – The Valley Drive In – Brisbane
October 31 – with Justice For The Damned – Crown and Anchor – Adelaide
November 2 – with Justice For The Damned – The Workers Club – Melbourne
November 9 – with Justice For The Damned – The Chippo Hotel – Sydney (Sold Out)